What it is: Australia’s Parliament may pass a bill requiring backdoors in encryption.
The huge problem with politicians is that they make decisions without having a clear understanding of the issues. In Australia, the government is debating a bill requiring backdoors in encryption to allow the government to access encrypted information. The United States constantly mulls over similar bill periodically as well, under the guise that the government needs to access encrypted data to protect the public.
Encryption backdoors make no sense to anyone with even the faintest knowledge of how encryption works. Encryption backdoors will supposedly allow governments to access encrypted data, but such backdoors will also allow hackers to access encrypted data along with other governments, essentially making encryption useless.
Then there’s the question of whether a government can be trusted. Encryption can protect individuals fighting for freedom and democracy, yet totalitarian governments like North Korea, Russia, China, and others could then exploit encryption backdoors to spy on their own people. So any encryption backdoors will be open to anyone with enough technical knowledge to exploit them. That includes friendly and not-so friendly governments, and malicious hackers.
Any encryption that includes a backdoor will immediately not be used by anyone who wants to keep their data private, and that includes the majority of the world. The moment one form of encryption has a backdoor in it, people will simply choose other options. The US government actually sponsored an open source encryption standard called AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). This standard is open source to show there are no backdoors in it, so this is one of many trusted encryption algorithms that people would use.
Since the AES encryption standard is open source, it’s been in use all over the world. No single government, even the United States, can suddenly put a backdoor into this algorithm without other people not only knowing about it, but also knowing how to exploit it, rendering the encryption standard useless.
Encryption is either on or off. Backdoors never work because governments would never trust any encryption with a backdoor since their own communications could then be compromised. Then everyone would just use the encryption standard the governments use, which defeats the purpose of backdoors in the first place.
Backdoors in encryption sounds handy to protect against criminals or terrorists, but that assumes criminals and terrorists will use encryption that they know others can read. They won’t, which makes backdoors useless.
short-sighted, ignorant government politicians always clamor for encryption backdoors. Anyone with any technical knowledge can easily see that encryption backdoors won’t work, but then again, few government leaders ever bother to deal with facts in the first place.